Mass Transit offers free bike sharing to Hele-On passengers

Riders of the Hele-On transit system now have a new, free way to get around the Big Island’s urban areas.

Hawai’i County Mass Transit recently announced that Hele-On passengers can now access HIBIKE Bikeshare at no additional cost. All passengers have to do is ask a bus operator for a code to use at the HIBIKE kiosks.

“Mayor Mitch Roth brought me to Hawai’i County to implement the actions detailed in the Transit and Multimodal Master Plan passed in 2018,” said John Andoh, Acting Administrator of Transportation in commmon. “Additionally, I came on board to restructure Hele-On to be a true economic engine for this island and bring new modes to help move people.”

The self-service bicycle service is one of these new modes. It is also a viable transportation option that provides economic, health, and convenience benefits. The free HIBIKE Bikeshare offering is the result of changes to the county’s transit system under the leadership of Andoh.

In 2016, People for Active Transportation Hawai’i, or PATH, partnered with the county’s Department of Research and Development to pilot a bike-sharing system in Kailua-Kona to test how bike-sharing could work on the large island, which was eventually extended to the Hilo area. . As part of this expansion, Mass Transit came on board to begin subsidizing the bike-share operation, making it part of the family of services provided by the agency.

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A service of PATH and Hele-On, HIBIKE Bikeshare is ideal for anyone looking to leave their car parked for a short ride or upgrade their transportation options. In other cities with bike-sharing systems, local businesses have been shown to benefit, with increased visibility at street level as people are out of their cars and more aware of businesses that surround them.

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Bike-share stations are also advantageous in areas where a bus route may not make sense, as the destination may be close enough to the main public transit. And establishing bike-share stations near bus routes to and from an off-route location eliminates the need to deviate from a primary transit route.

Other new modes of transportation being implemented include carpooling, partnerships with Lyft and Uber, and a new road network that will make it easy for everyone to get around the island. Andoh focuses on the need for internal circulation in urbanized areas of rural environments, such as Hilo, Kailua-Kona, Waimea, and Pāhoa.

“Multimodal opportunities can start simple, like with a bike-sharing system in rural areas for ‘first mile, last mile’ connections from a transit bus to someone’s destination,” Andoh said. , highlighting that bike sharing can also be combined with flexible and responsive on-demand services such as a taxi. “We have several stations that we are funding in partnership with PATH to demonstrate the intermodal connection.”

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PATH is a community-based, nonprofit organization committed to increasing efforts by community groups and Hawai’i County to create more multimodal trails for active transportation, with a focus on developing more protected places so that people can use mobility devices, walk or cycle on the Big Island.

For more information on HIBIKE Bikeshare system integration, click here. For more details on the county’s multimodal transportation plan, visit the PATH-Blog.

Melvin Z. Madore